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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71132
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was recently arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure.

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I was recently arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure. I admitted speaking to the 3 people who have accused me for no more than 5-6 seconds, but have denied the allegations that during this time I exposed myself to them because I did not. During my time at the police station it was suggested I take part in a viper however after questioning it was deemed not necessary at the time and I was released on bail pending further enquiries. Yesterday I had a knock on the door asking if I could come to the station to have some papers served by a senior officer asking me to take part in a viper. The officer was recording me at this time which I did not know untill just before he left. My question is why do I now need to take part in a viper and should I take part ?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you likely to be selected?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Well I have already admitted that in all likely hood I stopped in my car to ask for directions, however they have accused me of exposing myself to the people is stopped to ask, which I absolutely did not !! This is making me feel ill, at the thought of potentially getting a criminal record for something I have not done.

Is there any reason these people would lie about you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. I have never met them and do not know them personally. However I suggested that they may have though they had seen something that wasn't. I only stopped for a moment, I was sitting in my car and I wound the window down to ask for directions. They didn't respond so I drove off. I did not expose any of my anatomy to them at any point. I was wearing full length black trousers, a shirt a coat and a belt at the time.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
I am required to attend the Police station tonight to be given some paperwork to attend the VIPER. I really need to know if I should attend or not?
The reason you are experiencing delay is that you relisted this so it dropped off my list.
I presume you were arrested and spent time in the custody suite?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes I spent around 8 hours in custody before being released on bail to appear at the end of the month. I was then visited at home by a police officer asking me to go back to sign some paperwork for me to take part in a VIPER which i did yesterday evening. I have since been given witness descriptions which are very basic. I have already admitted to stopping to ask for directions, but I did not expose myself during this time or any other time for that matter ! Where do I stand on this. The charge is for exposure. in that I stopped whilst driving a vehicle to ask 3 young females for directions. They didn't answer, therefore I drove away. At no point did I expose any part of myself to them. The next I knew the police came to my works ( I was driving the works vehicle at the time, and they took down the registration) and arrested me on suspicion of indecent exposure.

There is no longer really any point in refusing to take part in an ID parade if you did go to the custody suite.
If you had refused they would only have done it covertly probably using some footage of you in the custody suite and then you would have stood out from the parade.
In terms of where you stand, it is always very difficult with this type of case. You are asking a jury to accept that these people are either mistaken or lying.
There are people who do lie especially about sexual offences but they do not usually do it about completely random strangers or at least they don't target their lies about those people. Most stranger rapes are false allegations but usually they are attention seeking rather than trying to get anybody in trouble.
You are generally better off running mistake in that sort of situation but then you would have to get a jury to accept that all three were mistaken. Unless, of course, you can get them to say that they spent time discussing the incident afterwards and so their memories were affected.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm trying to digest what you are saying? Does this mean that if only 1 of them thought they saw something and after I had driven away, they discussed it and agreed that they had all seen the same thing, that i'm likely to get charged and convicted? I honestly cannot believe that this has happened or that it would seem it will go to court. I am not suggesting anyone is lying. I am suggesting that they have misinterpreted seeing something and agreed between them that's what they saw afterwards. . . I just want to clarify, I did not expose myself during the few seconds I stopped to ask for directions. . . how is it possible that because they are sure I exposed myself to them, after they had the opportunity to discuss it between themselves, am I being treated as guilty? It seems that because I have no argument other than my word, I could potentially end up with a criminal record !! Is this the fairness of the UK justice system at its best? Incidentally all 3 description statements of me, taken at different times are exactly the same, verbatim.

No, that is not what I said.
If one of them says that they did see this then you could well be charged though. I suspect that more than one is saying that though. Usually witnesses do.
You are generally better off running mistake in that sort of situation but then you would have to get a jury to accept that all three were mistaken. Unless, of course, you can get them to say that they spent time discussing the incident afterwards and so their memories were affected.
On your point about descriptions, they will have conferred. It would be completely unnatural for them not to have discussed this. They will have to accept that under questioning and if they didn't then it would sound stupid.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So in reality if any one of the 3 say they saw what they think they saw I will be charged ? Or if they admit to conferring about it afterwards, the likelihood is that their memory of what happened has been affected, and the charges will be dropped?

If they are saying they saw this then I would brace yourself for a charge. Sexual offences are being prosecuted with a gusto at the moment that you have never seen. That is the real reason the conviction rate is low. If you prosecute lots of rubbish you will get a low conviction rate.
If you can get them to admit to conferring afterwards you might get the jury to accept the chance their recollection is tainted by pooled recollection. CPS will not care. They do not generally accept that risk.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I cannot believe this has happened!! What can I expect if I am charged with this offence ?

Community order usually.
It doesn't carry high sentences but it is the stigma attached to this type of offence usually that causes people to contest it.
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